Optical Allusions

In English, most of your basic optical aids have a name assembled as a compound using the word glass. Maybe we could simply translate these.

On the other hand, most of these devices are easily depicted as themselves, and some of them carry clear metaphorical meanings as well. If you came to a website that had no words whatsoever, but a series of icons instead, you'd still guess that clicking the magnifying glass would search or zoom, the sunglasses would display the cool stuff, the microscope would take you to Science instead of History or Literature.

Device -glass Compound Pure Illustration As Visual Metaphor
mirror looking glass

glasses eyeglasses
look, read

telescope spyglass
astronomy; Also, a verbal metaphor for getting smaller by sliding one part into another.

(same) magnifying glass
look, search

(same) sunglasses

microscope (none ?) science

binoculars field glasses
search, find

Here are a few English words and idioms that have been built using basic optical roots. We may be able to translate these words into glyph combos that use the symbol .

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Last updated October 2003

Copyright © 2003 Matthew White